Do you think the world is an inclusive place for every person on the planet? How many public places have you seen equipped to make the life of the differently-abled easier? Are there ramps outside every public place? Wheelchair assistance, special toilets?
The answer to these questions on most occasions is a NO. Even today, most public places are not fit for usage by those using mobility aids; among these are wheelchair users. They face issues with narrow corridors in older buildings, parking lots, shopping malls, public transportation and irregular surfaces or steep slopes.
Let's take a detailed look at these issues.
How would you feel if you wanted to leave the house but could not because there's no facility to support your mobility? People who use wheelchairs face this regularly. Regarding accessibility, most public transport worldwide has a long way to go. We do not have buses, trains, auto-rickshaws or cabs designed to accommodate those using mobility aids, making travelling a nightmare for them.
Additionally, moving around can also be an issue. Manual Wheelchair users have to rely on another person for movement. However, they can drive themselves with modified electric ones, making commuting more convenient and easy, reducing their reliance on a second person.
● Toilets And Washrooms
Toilets and washrooms are among the most used public spaces, and they must be equipped so that anyone can access them despite personal hurdles such as physical disability. However, that is not the case. Wheelchair users often face difficulty using public toilets because there are no ramps or the stalls are too narrow with no support infrastructure.
● Inaccessible Roads
Everyone longs for independent living, and it cannot be very pleasant if you have to rely on another person to go outside. Due to inaccessible roads, streets, potholes, narrow footpaths, and litter on the roads, wheelchair users have difficulty going out alone. Crossing streets can be challenging for people who use mobility aids, especially when there are no signs or features to help them cross safely.
● Getting Their Hands Dirty
A manual wheelchair often needs someone to push it around, or the wheelchair user must spin the wheels themselves to move forward. However, this action can often lead to dirty hands. And the inaccessibility to wash basins in public spaces can lead wheelchair users into a bit of a fix with hygiene issues. This can, in turn, expose them to infections and health disorders.
Here are some solutions that can be implemented in public spaces to make their lives easier:
The best way of improving accessibility for wheelchair users is by widening doorways. Wide doorways allow wheelchairs and mobility scooters to pass through, making spaces more accessible and allowing them to reach and avail services conveniently.
Another way to make spaces accessible for the disabled is to install ramps in public spaces. Ramps will assist people with mobility aids to easily enter or exit a building.
● Switches and handles
Moving parts on doors and walls such as switches and handles can help people with disabilities access and be more independent.
● Bathroom facilities
For disabled people to have access to basic facilities, providing accessible toilet facilities is crucial. This can involve installing ramps, and having larger stalls with wider doorways. Additionally, installing support infrastructure in the stalls will help with balance inside the stall.
Sources:Daily Life Problems Faced by Wheelchair Users (in Public Places)
What are Problems that Wheelchair Users Face? | KarmanHealthcare.com
Here are some daily challenges faced by wheelchair users - Newz Hook | Disability News
Ways to improve access for disabled patients - Architecture